Diabetes is one of those conditions that like to masquerade and hide. It's not exactly silent but it's also not one that jumps to mind because the symptoms seem unrelated to the condition itself. And as a result, many people may have it, and therefore be untreated and subject to much worse effects, and not even realize it. These symptoms are such that if a person has them, they really should seek care without delay because diagnosis is the first step to management and treatment. And here especially, it's really important to keep our conditions managed.
One unusual sign of diabetes might be skin which is darker on the neck. Look for patches of skin on the neck or darker areas in neck creases. It might also feel noticeably thicker or velvet-like due to a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans (AN). This skin condition is common in Type 2 diabetics, especially among those with darker complexions.
Breath that smells extra-fruity might be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis. This dangerous condition should be checked out right away because when the body can’t properly use insulin to process carbohydrates and sugar for energy, it creates ketones as a by-product of using fat for energy production. Ketones may cause the breath to smell fruity or like acetone or nail polish.
Are things looking blurry? It may actually be caused by high blood sugar levels because the lenses of the eyes swell when blood sugar is too high. Blurry vision might be a subject to bring up with a healthcare provider. If they don’t bring it up first, consider asking about diabetes, especially if you have other symptoms.
Leg cramps or pains that don’t correlate to injury might be caused by diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes may cause nerve damage. These pains might also be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), another potential side effect of diabetes.
Any of these symptoms may be concerning, whether they point to diabetes or not, but the reality is that 1 in 4 young people are being diagnosed with prediabetes these days. So no one should consider themselves immune. And young people may experience different symptoms, too, so if there is any doubt, a conversation with a physician and some early tests may help alleviate the worry or make available early treatment.